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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Luis Suárez and Mo Salah: stats going into Anfield showdown

Luis Suárez has never been forgotten by Liverpool supporters and will pay an emotional return to Anfield tonight. Mohamed Salah is the new king of the Kop.

Update:
Luis Suárez and Mo Salah: stats going into Anfield showdown
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Luis Suárez will make another emotional return to Anfield tonight, revisting the ground where he appeared 67 times as a player. This time he will be on the opposing team, Atlético Madrid, in his first return since 2019. Suárez's most recent visit to Anfield was in May 2019 as part of the Barcelona side that was thrashed 4-0 and denied a place in the Champions League final.

Salah watched that game from the stands, missing a Champions League match for the only time in his Liverpool career to date due to concussion.

Suárez and Salah's standout seasons

There were several similarities between the 2013-14 season for Suárez and Salah's 2017-18 campaign, as each inspired Liverpool to the cusp of history. On both occasions, the individual errors of team-mates – Steven Gerrard against Chelsea in the Premier League, Loris Karius versus Real Madrid in the Champions League – left the superstar forwards agonisingly short of the finish line.

Suárez had scored an outstanding 31 goals that year – all in the Premier League, matching the 38-game benchmark that belonged jointly to Alan Shearer (1995-96) and Cristiano Ronaldo (2007-08).

Like so many standards Suárez set, though, Salah reached and then surpassed that mark four years later. Salah had 30 goals by Valentine's Day, becoming the first Liverpool player to tally as many in a season since Suárez, but then kicked on from there. His four goals in a single game against Watford the following month again made him the first Reds star to celebrate such a haul this side of Suárez (versus Norwich City in December 2013).

Salah finished with a new record 32 league goals among an astonishing 43 in all competitions, joining Suárez in scooping the PFA Player of the Year award – the sixth and seventh Liverpool players to be recognised. Crucially, too, whereas the 2013-14 season was Suarez's last at Anfield, 2017-18 was merely the first of many for Salah, who has moved well clear of his fellow Kop icon as a result.

Salah on track again

While Salah has not come close to that 43-goal total again – at least until now – he has maintained a high level throughout his Liverpool career. Only in 2019-20 did the forward fail to net 20 times in the Premier League, and Klopp's men won the title that year.

But Salah's current form is hinting at the sort of season that would blow away his own previous performance, let alone Suárez's. Going into the game against Atleti, Salah has 15 goals and six assists in just 13 appearances this season.

His run of scoring in 10 straight games in all competitions – a feat never previously achieved by a Liverpool player – ended in Saturday's draw with Brighton and Hove Albion, but the Egypt international still provided an assist for Jordan Henderson. This sequence of goal involvements in 11 matches in a row is the best of Salah's Reds career. By comparison, Suárez never scored in more than five successive appearances – also his best run of goals and assists.

Salah has never been better and enters the Atleti match one shy of Gerrard's record of 14 home goals in the European Cup. Due to the timing of his departure for Barça, Suárez never even played a Champions League game for Liverpool, although he did win the competition in his first season at Camp Nou.

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